Hey Congress, Don’t Kill Our Wind Jobs! New Coalition Urges Extension of Vital Tax Credits

Every couple of years we go through the same thing: Key tax credits for the wind industry come close to expiring, Congress does nothing until the last minute (if anything), and we see disruption in the wind sector.

Despite the tens of thousands of jobs, the billions in local economic activity, the immense bipartisan support, and the technological progress being made in this country,  Congress is still holding the wind industry hostage through inaction on the Production Tax Credit. All the while, oil and gas companies enjoy permanent tax credits for all kinds of activity. The standards we’ve created in energy incentives are mind boggling.

Rather than grovel on Capitol Hill, a coalition of wind energy companies is hitting back with a more aggressive message through the Save USA Wind Jobs campaign. The group features a range of blade and turbine manufacturers, truckers, components producers, developers, maintenance companies, and advocacy organizations.

Are members of Congress ready to listen? Or will they ignore the thousands of businesses around the country that would be negatively impacted by an expiration of this key tax credit?

4 Responses to Hey Congress, Don’t Kill Our Wind Jobs! New Coalition Urges Extension of Vital Tax Credits

  1. John Tucker says:

    I do not know of a single study assessing the carbon footprint of Chinese wind generator manufacture. Meaning the carbon cost realistically could be more than natural gas. Who knows what the overall pollution is.

    Perhaps someone will correct me.

    It makes no sense environmentally to allow American and European companies to go under while our market is flooded with cheap renewables from places where coal is still used substantially for indoor heating and cooking.

    I imagine in the grad balance it is probably making matters worse.

  2. Jon @ AWEA says:

    Mr. Tucker,

    You misunderstand that wind energy is an American manufacturing success story. Wind is actually insourcing a whole new manufacturing sector. Sixty percent of a wind turbine’s value is now produced here in America, compared to 25% prior to 2005. As the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service recently found, American wind manufacturing facilities have grown to almost 400 in 2010, up from as few as 30 in 2004.

    There are two reasons for this. 1. Because we have enjoyed stable tax policy in recent years with regards to the federal Production Tax Credit for wind. The second reason is that the U.S. has an inherent competitive advantage in manufacturing turbines to supply the American wind farm market, which, because of our enormous wind resources, is one of the world’s largest and best markets. That competitive advantage arises from the fact that turbines and their main components (towers, blades, generators and gearboxes) are heavy and expensive to transport around the world. According to one major manufacturer, transportation costs make up nearly 20 percent of the installed cost of a new wind farm. In a highly competitive world, that’s a big number, and most manufacturers are looking to shave those costs as much as possible. Obviously, one of the best ways to do that is to assemble the turbines and manufacture major components as close to the wind farm site as possible. The result? More than 10 turbine manufacturers have opened factories in the U.S. in the past five years–in other words, European turbine manufacturers are not opening new factories in Europe or in China to supply the U.S. market, they are building them here. They are also seeking to build supply chains here in America, to reduce shipping delays and increase efficiency.

    Overall, wind energy supports 75,000 jobs across the U.S. today and the promise of 500,000 less than 20 years from now according to the U.S. DOE. That’s why extending the PTC for wind is so important.

  3. John Tucker says:

    Mr Jon sometimes I probably come off as politically anti renewable around here but I assure you that is hardly the case.

    I like to think of myself as trying to be a realist, albeit perhaps a grumpy one.

    ALL of my arguments center on advocating reductions in contributions to major pollutants and most especially huge reductions to American contributions of greenhouse/acidification gases.

    Many of the renewables arguments (for instance the site linked to in this article) focus mainly, it seems on unrealistic claims of complete energy independence and alternatives to nuclear power.

    I have no bias against nuclear power. Indeed, it can be a reasonably safe method of producing large amounts of dependable power. Obviously its not a fix all and there are situations where its not the best decision.

    My stance on renewables, and indeed this whole argument between renewables and nuclear power is we are no where close to installing the correct balance of safe and cleanly manufactured nuclear or renewable capacity at the rate we need to be approaching to slow very significant damage to the environment.

    So there is no Argument here really – except probably realistically: intermittent renewables IN poorly planned SMALL installations have severe limitations when adapted to large general networks that are being glossed over, the subsidies you and this site are advocating for renewables are FAR too small, and there is not enough advocation/regulation/revenue generation in favoring clean and socially responsible manufacturing priorities i.e. ¨America first,¨union” or whatever you want to call it.

    Also I understand you concern with shipping costs but I think it critical to not address the issue from that perspective, as in clean manufacturing – all things – places and routes – are most definitely not equal.

  4. John Tucker says:

    Yea thinking about it more, arguing your point from a shipping cost perspective is a disaster. Companies that thought it prudent to outsource production overseas should have though better.

    We need to raise the Titanic and turn her around, not extend the gangplanks to the bottom of the ocean.